Time is precious, and we never seem to have enough of it. From endless to-do lists to rushing out the door to the next event, it can be daunting, intimidating, and outright overwhelming to muster up the energy to tidy your home. Who has a whole weekend to clean, anyway? We sought out advice from Life in Jeneral founder and professional organizer, Jen Robin, on how to tackle the everyday clutter in your home with the time you have.
15 MINUTES: CHOOSE A DRAWER, ANY DRAWER
Whether in the bathroom, kitchen, or office, drawers are infamous for collecting things that don’t belong. With a spare 15 minutes, choose one drawer and empty its contents onto the counter. Clean the bottom with a disinfecting spray or wipe to remove dust, hair, or other crumbs. Then, challenge yourself only to put back the items that truly serve a purpose and pitch old receipts, inkless pens, and pizza coupons that have expired long ago.
LIJ Pro-Tip: Don’t feel like you must clean everything in one day. In fact, starting with small projects, like a drawer, can often make the biggest difference!
20 MINUTES: CLEAN OUT CONTAINERS
From a basket of laundry that needs folding to a clean dishwasher full of plates waiting to get unloaded, these everyday chores can quickly bog you down. Just because things are tucked away in a container, it doesn’t mean they’re tidy. With a spare 20 minutes, identify containers, like the dishwasher, that need to be emptied and enlist the help of family members to get the job done. Doing this will also help you find moments throughout your day to complete other household tasks, such as tossing in a load of laundry before you run errands so it’s ready to be moved to the dryer when you get home.
LIJ Pro-Tip: Completing unfinished household chores can be such a relief—that’s one more thing you can cross off your list. Getting your family involved and sharing in the upkeep of your house will help streamline your everyday routine and foster a more relaxed and positive environment.
45 MINUTES: PUT AWAY THE PILE
We all have a “pile”—a chair, bench, or other spot in our home where we toss clothes and other items we don’t feel like putting away. With 30-45 minutes, conquer the pile in your home. Once you’ve hung up your clothes, tucked away books, and placed board games back in their proper spot, you’ll likely be left with items that don’t have a place to go. Evaluate why this is. Do these things serve a purpose? Have you used them within the past few months? If the answer is “no,” toss or donate them to eliminate the likelihood of starting another pile of unused items.
LIJ Pro-Tip: My goal with clients is not to come in for a one-time fix, but rather to create systems that work for each lifestyle. Juggling life, work, family, and a house can be overwhelming. By eliminating clutter and providing systems that are easy to maintain, you can live more simply and enjoy day-to-day life with less stress and anxiety.
1 HOUR: PURGE YOUR CLOSET
Have more than a few minutes? Set aside some time to purge or get rid of clothing, accessories, and other odds and ends you no longer need. Start by removing everything from your closet and separating items into three piles: keep, donate, and toss. When you’re finished sorting, create a system with the most used clothing and accessories in the front, and less used pieces tucked further away.
LIJ Pro-Tip: The purging process is so important to the success of an organizing job, but some find it difficult to let go of things. Understand that it’s not just your closet that’s going through a transformation—you’re going through one, too. Open yourself up to all the benefits this newly organized space will bring, and you’ll find yourself wanting to go back to that feeling again and again with the other closets in your home.
Jen Robin is the founder of Life in Jeneral, a Los Angeles–based professional organization company. Life in Jeneral was born in 2014 after Jen realized the impact that eliminating stress and clutter had on people’s lives around her. For Jen, it’s more than physical organization; it’s about changing lives for the better through creating logical systems that fit each client’s lifestyle. Today, Life in Jeneral has gained recognition from notable magazines such as Forbes, Time, and People, and has organized over 2,000 projects nationwide.